Queen’s defensive back Jacob Firlotte prepares for CFL National Combine

Standout performance at Ontario combine sees Gaels player invited to national showcase

Firlotte at the Ontario Regional Combine,
Firlotte at the Ontario Regional Combine,
Credit: 
Supplied by Jacob Firlotte / taken by Jeff Chan

After a standout performance at the CFL’s Ontario Regional Combine on Mar. 9, Queen’s defensive back Jacob Firlotte has earned himself another opportunity to impress scouts. 

The regional combine — of which there are three in Canada — gives select CFL hopefuls from U Sports schools an opportunity to earn an invitation to the league’s national combine. Firlotte was one of six athletes — out of a total 41 — at the Ontario Regional Combine to be invited to the national combine, which is set to be held on Mar. 24 and 25 in Winnipeg.

Divided into physical and field testing, the notable measured categories at both regional and national combines are the bench press, 40-yard dash, broad jump, vertical jump, three-cone and short shuttle drills.

Although Firlotte didn’t rank in the top five in any of the six major testing categories at the regional combine, he said he wasn’t surprised to receive his invitation to the national combine. Overall, he was happy with his results from the day.

“I’m a lot bigger than the other guys in my position, and I was able to keep up with them,” Firlotte told The Journal this week. “But with the on-field stuff I really succeeded … That’s what counts because that’s the most applicable stuff towards an actual game.”

Of note in his performance, the fourth-year Gael finished in the top 10 of the vertical jump with a leap of 32.5” and seventh in the broad jump jumping 9’9.75”.

While not on showcase at the regional combine, Firlotte explained that defensive backs need to show their ability to read and react to wide receivers, on top of keeping them covered. An athlete’s intangible skills on the field — reading a play, man-to-man coverage, etc. — often bear more importance in their overall play than strength and agility.

“[W]ith the on-field stuff, I really succeeded,” Firlotte, who played in all eight of the Gaels’ games this season, said. “[I] locked down the receiver which is good and that’s what counts because that’s the most applicable stuff towards an actual game.”

One area that works in Firlotte’s favour is his size. His 6’2, 216 lbs frame was the largest of all participating defensive backs at the regional combine. The next closest at his position was Nicholas Parisotto from Guelph, who checked-in 15 pounds under and a four inches shorter than Firlotte. 

At the national combine this coming weekend, he hopes to impress scouts enough to boost his draft stock. 

“I mean, everything of course,” he responded when asked what specifically he wishes to improve at the national combine. “What’s going to be different is interviews with [CFL] coaches, which wasn’t at the [regional combine] … I’ve got to prepare myself for that.”

Firlotte won’t be the only Gael trying to impress scouts this upcoming weekend. He’s joined by Queen’s linebacker Nelkas Kwemo, who’s listed at going 11th overall in the latest CFL mock draft.

Even though the national combine will attract more scouts and attention, Firlotte doesn’t find the experience stressful. Rather, he’s excited.

“You expect there to be coaches there watching you. There are less people there than at a game, and it’s something you’ve prepared for, so [I’m] pretty calm,” he said.

Corrections

March 24, 2018

The photo credit has been updated to reflect who captured the image.

The Journal regrets the error.

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